Photo via Pixabay
Photo via Pixabay

A cardiologist told a jury Tuesday he made sound medical decisions while caring for a patient beset with a history of heart problems and denied that any of his actions led to her death.

Dr. Adel El-Bialy said he developed a course of action for treating 52- year-old Kathryn Trump and defended his decision to give her digoxin, a drug which is used to treat various heart conditions.

The physician said she was not at risk at the time for developing a toxicity as alleged by the woman’s relatives. He also said he was not obligated to get recommendations about digoxin use from other doctors who tended to the woman during her hospital stay because neither were heart specialists.

“This was the decision of a cardiologist; I don’t have to discuss it with a nephrologist (kidney specialist) or a primary physician,” El-Bialy said.

Kathryn Trump’s husband, William Trump Jr., and children, Charles and Sarah, filed their negligence suit in Los Angeles Superior Court in May 2011. The family is unrelated to billionaire presidential candidate Donald Trump.

The suit alleges that El-Bialy’s decisions, including the use of digoxin, were a “substantial factor” in causing Kathryn Trump’s death. The Trumps eventually withdrew all medical care given her dim prognosis, and she died on March 2, 2010, according to the family’s court papers.

Kathryn Trump had a history of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a disease of the muscle of the heart, when she was taken by ambulance to Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills on Feb. 23, 2010, according to the family’s court papers. El-Bialy testified the woman complained of chest pain and shortness of breath.

The Trump family’s lawyer, John Denove, repeatedly questioned El-Bialy regarding his decision to administer digoxin to the woman when her potassium level was low.

Earlier in the trial, retired cardiologist Stephen Berens testified on behalf of the Trump family that giving digoxin to a patient with a low amount of potassium increases the risk of toxicity.

El-Bialy said the amount of digoxin he administered was minimal and said toxicity from the drug, as with alcohol, requires a larger dosage.

“The heart was not drunk yet,” El-Bialy said.

El-Bialy told jurors that Denove was trying to take portions of his pretrial deposition testimony out of context to try to make the jury think he was contradicting himself on the witness stand.

“This is cherry-picking,” El-Bialy said.

— City News Service 

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